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CCGs told to develop plans for pooled budgets by March 2014

CCGs have been tasked with developing plans for how they will spend their £3.8bn joint budget with local authorities by March 2014 in order to access the shared funds to promote integrate health and social care.

The £3.8bn ring-fenced budget announced by the Government in its recent spending review. NHS England and the Local Government Association have now said that the money will be put into an ‘Integration Transformation Fund’ that will be available for CCGs and local authorities.

But to access this money commissioners in the region will need to present plans on how they wish to spend the money, despite the fact that much of the funding will be taken from CCG’s current budgets.

The funding for social care, announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his spending review in June, will be used to jointly commission services across health and social care by 2015/16 to ‘help end the scandal of older people trapped in hospital because they cannot get social care support’.

The DH said the pool will include: £1bn taken from the existing NHS budget; £800m that has already been announced for social care; and £2bn of new money being invested.

However, it has created uncertainty among CCG leaders, who are unclear about how the fund will affect their budgets in the future.

The joint announcement from NHS England and the LGA said: ‘Each locality will be asked to develop a local plan by March 2014, which will need to set out how the pooled funding will be used and the ways in which the national and local targets attached to the performance-related £1bn will be met.

‘This plan will also set out how the £200m transfer to local authorities in 2014/15 will be used to make progress on priorities and build momentum.’

Bill McCarthy, national director of policy at NHS England, said: ‘The spending round resulted in a tough settlement for the NHS for 2015/16. The money to be invested in the integration transformation fund will have to be found by CCGs from budgets which will scarcely have grown from the previous year in real terms. However the fund does create a real opportunity to achieve improved outcomes for people.  Our aim is for a health and social care system that is truly seamless so that people receive the right care at the right time in the right place.’